Friday, June 29, 2018

Waziris coming in for the winter near Bannu (1897)

" Waziris coming in for the winter near Bannu", 1897. Antique Print .


From Hayat-i-Afghani (composed in 1867) ;

"A very important and characteristic phase of Waziri life is the annual march to and from the plains. Most of the clans of Utmanzai and Ahmadzai have the plains in April or May for the cooler latitudes of the Koh-i-Sulieman , of Shawal, Wana, Birmal etc, and at the beginning of the cold weather , that is in October or November , again descend to the foot of the mountains. Most of the clans that frequent the Bannu district have land both above and below. The toil of these annual migrations are far greater than can readily be imagined, and a very heavy share of the common burden falls upon the women. It is no uncommon thing to see a woman bearing on her back a skin (mashak) of water, and on her head her infant, while she also carries on her shoulder a javelin or short wooden spear. Thus burdened , she will contrive to drive before her a flock of sheep, and ever and anon give breast to her crying child. The men, laden with their arms, and also carrying bags filled with flour for the journey's food, drive the flocks and herds. A Wazir lad of five or six years of age, barefooted on strong ground, bareheaded under a firm sun , may be seen in charge of a herd of camels, and if in his headlong rushes after the unruly beasts , a thorn runs into his foot , without a moment hesitation or cry of pain , he drags it out , and re-commences his toilsome efforts" [ Henry Priestly's translation]